Monday, April 30, 2007

2007 NFL Draft Preview....Posted Afterwards

As the 2007 NFL Draft is quickly approaching (only 10 more excruciating days), I felt it was time to kick start the Three Hamiltons blog, especially considering the place it holds in my sporting heart. I thought my format last year worked out okay, so I’m rolling with the same thing this year. Again, I’ll be focusing on the first draft of the Mike Tomlin era in Steeltown. This draft is crucial in adding some depth to bounce back from a topsy-turvy 2006 campaign. Looking back on last year’s picks, this exercise is in vain, but it is fun anyway.

1st round: Paul Posluszny (OLB – the ol’ Alma Mater)

Comment: As I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing me say, there is no player that is a better fit for everything that Mike Tomlin is going to instill in this Steelers team. Toughness – check. Ridiculous Work Ethic – check. Proto-typical WLB in the Tampa 2 – MAJOR check. Intelligent, High Character, Smart, yada, yada, yada – check, check, check. Tomlin seems like a no-nonsense, smart man. I just think this pick is a no-brainer, and I’m fully aware of my absolute subjectivity on the matter from both sides. That’s my story though, and I’m sticking to it. I just refuse to resign myself to the fact that they could pick someone else. It’s not happening.

2nd round: Dwayne Jarrett (WR - USC), Brian Leonard (RB – Rutgers), Tony Hunt (RB – Penn State), Justin Blalock (OL – Texas), Craig Davis (WR – LSU), or Sydney Rice (WR – South Carolina)

Comments: This 2nd round pick was the toughest for me to pinpoint. This draft seems really deep from late 1st to mid-3rd, so there are going to be some talented players here. The national media has had rumblings of Jarrett falling recently, but I cannot see him dropping to #46. That being said, he would be amazing as the final link in the Steelers new 4 WR offense under new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. They clearly will be targeting WRs because of this slight shift in offensive philosophy, and given the WR talent available in this slot, this pick seems like the logical place. Rice and Davis are both the type of tall, deep threat WRs that would compliment the gritty Hines Ward and quick Santonio Holmes. That being said, I think Brian Leonard would be a great “Ultraback” player to compliment Fast Willie Parker (God bless Raymont Harris, wherever you are). Leonard is a strong enough runner to spell Parker for 8-12 carries a game, and he is the ideal 3rd down back given his pass-catching and pass blocking skills. Deuce Davenport is a solid # 3 back and special teams contributor, but they need a big, strong runner to compliment Parker’s speed. The offense clearly was lacking last year without that power running presence that the Bus brought to the table. Hunt could also be a possibility here, given his inside, power running abilities. He is not a #1 back, but would be an ideal #2 power back in the Steelers offense.

3rd round: Chris Henry (RB - Arizona), Jonathan Wade (CB – Tennessee), Quentin Moses (DE – Georgia), or LaMarr Woodley (DE/OLB – Michigan)

Comments: Henry’s size (230)/speed (4.38) combination at the combine really intrigues me, but his college stats seem very sparse. This pick really is contingent on the 2nd round pick. I cannot see them getting through the first four rounds without taking a LB, RB, and WR. That being said, if some talent at CB (Wade), DE (Moses) or LB (Woodley) slide to this part of the 3rd round, it would make sense to grab them. These three particular players were all high performers at major programs and would be a good fit for the Steelers slight shift in defensive scheme.

4th round (a): Daniel Sepulveda (P – Baylor), Kareem Brown (DT – the U), or Kevin Kolb (QB - Houston)

Comments: Punter Chris Gardocki has long outlived his usefulness, so, barring Josh Miller getting cut by New England, it makes sense to take a shot on a kid like Sepulveda. He is a 2-time winner of the Ray Guy award, and you have to figure at Baylor he got a lot of practice. Brown has all the talent to be a disruptive force spelling both Casey Hampton and Aaron Smith, considering the DL really lacks depth as currently configured. The Kolb selection could be a very solid long-term back-up solution at QB and fits with my adoption of the Ron Wolf philosophy of drafting QBs to develop and use later as trade bait.

4th round (b): Dwayne Wright (RB – Fresno State), Jon Abbate (LB – Wake Forest), or James Marten (OT - BC)

Comments: Again, Wright’s size and battering ram style are intriguing as a complement to Parker. Abbate again fits the blue collar LB style syonomous with the Steelers and has the look of a very strong special teams contributor. Marvel Smith’s age necessitates the adding of some OT depth, and Marten looks like another in a long line of solid OL from the Boston College program.

Late Round Flyers: Tyler Palko (QB - Pitt), Jason Snelling (RB - Virginia), Zac DeOssie (LB - Brown), or Jacoby Jones (WR - Lane)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gilbert Arenas on Deshawn Stevenson

(Note - for those not in the know, Stevenson likes to refer to himself as Mister 50 - indicating his lofty FG% - and won't talk to anyone else not shooting 50%)

From Arenas' Blog:
"And let’s talk about "Mister 50." Can you believe that crap? Mister 50 ain’t had more than 30 points in one game yet, but he’s Mister 50. I’m not paying attention to a proclaimed Mister 50. If he was Mister 50, why did he lose to a one-armed man? Tell that to Mister 50. If he ain’t scoring 29 points a game, he can’t talk to me. I’m Mister 29…Forget that, I don’t need to be Mister 29. I’m Agent Zero, son."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Super Thoughts

I suppose all is right in the world. I can't fathom a world where Rex Grossman is a Super Bowl winning quarterback and Peyton Manning is not. Yes, the Trent Dilfers and Brad Johnsons of the world have won Super Bowls. But they did it at the expense of Kerry Collins and Rich Gannon. I can take that. My world nearly fell apart when Vinatieri missed a FG at the end of the first half - but Manning and his laser rocket arm set it back in place.

I know that Rex was 20/28 in ugly conditions but he still had two INT's (one for a TD) and two fumbles (one lost), and a sequence where they went from 2nd and 1 in FG range to 4th and...what was it....25ish? And Moose saved his butt on bad passes on more than one occasion. But Lovie is all about Sexy Rexy and now that he "got them there" he's probably cemented his rear in the starting spot for a few years at least. What a fun ride we'll be on enjoying him and Steve McNair for the next few seasons.

It's ashame Urlacher doesn't have a better QB to lead his team's offense. He was great last night. Am I the only one who thought of Ted Ginn last night? Who would've thought our national title game and the Super Bowl would have started in such spectacular fashion? And my MVP vote could have gone to Dominic Rhodes or Addai (more for receiving than running) as easily as Manning, even though I'm glad to see Peyton win the game. I hope someone asks Edge if all that money is able to comfort him as he watches his ex-teammates win.

I thought Prince was great. And for my vote, Career Builder (survive the work week) had the best commercials.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Keith Hernandez

Boyer brings up a good question - Who has reached "I'm Keith Hernandez" status?

Here's a list off of the top of my head....feel free to add:
1.) Jon Gruden
2.) Al Davis
3.) Terrell Owens
4.) Reggie Bush
5.) Bill Bellicheck
6.) Ray Lewis
7.) Michael Vick
(Speaking of which - I was so disappointed to read this.)
8.) Tom Brady

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

2006 NFL Season Thoughts

So, I've been struggling for a topic to re-energize the Three Hamiltons blog, and I have done zero NFL draft research. That leaves me with summarizing my thoughts on the 2006 NFL season. Given it was my first with the DirecTV Sunday NFL Ticket, I feel that I probably saw more this season than in the past 8-9 (i.e. since those lazy Sunday afternoons in college). So, without further ado, and in hopes of eliciting feedback from my partners in crime, here are my 2006 NFL thoughts (in no particular order):

1. Tom Brady should not have enough time in his schedule to "court" Gisele. End of story. I would be surprise if he threw that last INT in the AFC title game on purpose so he could rush off to Brazil to sunbathe with her.
2. Jon Gruden has officially reached "I'm Keith Hernandez" status. I mean, going into the season with a 6th round rookie QB as your back-up to Chris Simms is like going on a 7 day vacation with 3 pair of boxers. You can make it work, but odds are it's not ending up in your favor. And while were on the topic of Gruden, his offensive philosophy, i.e. horizontal passing, needs to die a quick death. It's dreadful to watch. I definitely did not set the Tivo for the Bucs games, needless to say.
3. LT, as pedestrian as some may think he is (you know who you are), is just a sheer joy to watch play. His mindless post-playoff comments aside, it's refreshing, in a sports world of tattoos, arrests, and entourages, that the best player in the world's best league can remain humble and grounded. He truly is a great example for all the kids out there.
4. Larry Johnson is not Techmo Bo Jackson there Herm. Get a back-up RB and a quarterback for goodness sake.
5. Drew Brees may be the most down to earth superstar on the planet. Peter King's pre-NFC title game interview with him on Inside the NFL was very impressive. Just an outstanding human being who proved any remaining doubters wrong this season.
6. Hate to say I told you so about the Mario Williams over Reggie Bush decision in April, but, well...
7. That being said, Reggie, watch some tapes of LT this winter after he scores. Act like you've been there before son.
8. Nitschke, Butkus, Lambert, Singletary, Lewis, and ...Urlacher. Yes, that seems about right. The kid just continues his assent to the the annals of the greatest MLBs of all time. The picture of him running stride for stride with Seattle WR Darrell Jackson on a seam route in the playoffs will be one of my lasting images of him.
9. Adalias Thomas and Bart Scott are better LBs than an aging Ray Lewis and big-mouthed Terrell Suggs. The media will never get to that story though, not with TO and Peyton to talk about.
10. There is no classier man in the league, or all of sports for that matter, than Tony Dungy, and for that reason I will be rooting for the Colts in the Super Bowl. Even if it means that Manning gets a ring. At least one Manning will because Eli's never getting there. Great trade there Ernie. Hate to see you go out with that one.
11. AJ Smith managed to make me look like a fool with my rant about him this preseason. The Rivers trade looks genius right now (Rivers, Merriman, Kaeding, and Oben for one spaghetti armed Eli), and the season they had was impressive, choke job nonewithstanding.
12. I'll bet Shawn Alexander wishes he'd have given some of his Madden money to the effort re-sign Hutchinson, huh?
13. Poor Art Shell. He deserves better.
14. Leinart + Fitz + Boldin + Edge + Pope + some nice young defensive players (Wilson, Dockett, Dansby, Rolle, Green) + Whisenhunt = finally a real sleeper from the Cardinals. For real this time.
15. Please, for the love of all that's good, Mike Nolan select Dwayne Jarrett. A quickly maturing Alex Smith, with the incomparable Frank Gore and a healthy Vernon Davis and the rookie WR and solid, Ward-like Arnez Battle. That has the makings of my late game Ticket team (after Arizona of course).
16. Michael Vick needs to be a Raider next year. It's just too perfect. Get David Stern on the phone, this needs to happen.
17. Finally, I would be remiss to not address the debacle that was the World Championship defense of my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. The fact that the Oakland loss (when the defense held the Raiders to less than 100 total yards but Ben had 4 INTs, two for TDs) kept them out of the playoffs was indicative of how the season went. It was disappointing and well documented, so I am not going to waste words on it. I am convinced they are still only a few bit pieces from getting back to the top of the mountain, and with a great new coaching hire and a hopefully quiet offseason for their franchise QB, they will contend next season again. There were many reasons for it, from a distracted coach to an unlucky QB to some undisciplined veterans (you know who you are Porter), but I am convinced they have the type of character players to make some noise for years to come. People forget that some of their best or soon to be best players (Roethlisberger, Miller, Polamalu, Holmes, Taylor, McFadden, Parker, Foote, Keisel) all have 4 years or less in the league, and their veteran stars (Faneca, Ward, Hampton) are all in their prime. And they have now brought in a hungry, energetic, and bright coach to freshen things up. I'm optimistic, and hey, these are the reasons we start every season with renewed optimism (unless you root for the Black and Silver).

Monday, August 28, 2006

Jeff George??!!

List of guys who were readily avaialable for the Raiders this offseason who I'd rather see quarterbacking my team instead of Jeff George (or Aaron Brooks) (I'm probably forgetting some...and in no particular order):

Guys we know were available as free agents or in trade this offseason:
1.) Drew Brees
2.) Steve McNair
3.) Daunte Culpepper
4.) Gus Frerotte
5.) Brian Griese
6.) Trent Dilfer
7.) Joey Harrington
8.) Jon Kitna
9.) Josh McCown
10.) Kelly Holcomb
11.) Todd Collins
12.) Patrick Ramsey

Guys they could have drafted:
1.) Matt Leinart
2.) Jay Cutler
3.) Kellen Clemons
4.) Tavaris Jackson
5.) Bruce Gradkowski

Other guys floating out there (i.e. available today!):
1.) Vinny Testaverde
2.) Tim Couch
3.) Kerry Collins (missed the boat here...)
4.) A.J. Feely (released yesterday)

Right under their nose:
1.) Andrew Walter
2.) Marques Tuiasosoppo

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Happy Birthday!

A big congratulations going out to 3 Hamilton fave Julio Franco! Yesterday he celebrated his 48th birthday and is still going strong. He is currently hitting .271 in 114 at-bats for the Mets, and is an impressive 5 for 5 in stolen base attempts. I remember being a 7 year old in the Cleveland suburbs, and proudly replicating his unique batting stance. Here's to Julio, I hope he plays until he's 60.